The Times on how much a woman’s life matters in Afghanistan

A father addresses his daughter at a women's shelter in Afghanistan.

A father addresses his daughter at a women’s shelter in Afghanistan.

I don’t mean to bum you out, but you should read this incredible article about women’s shelters in Afghanistan, a relatively recent product of Western influence. Honor killings are alarmingly common in the provinces, where resources are scarce, small communities make family reputations important, and a daughter of marrying age is a valuable commodity. The Times piece describes several women who eloped and sought protection from their own families in women’s shelters—including Faheema, whose stepmother burned her face with acid and whose father makes it clear throughout the article that he intends to kill her. Then, near the end, we get this:

Faheema tried to make peace between their two families and braved a phone call with her angry father to beg him to meet with elders from [her husband] Ajmal’s clan. But her father refused to see them and said the only thing that would satisfy him is if they gave him a daughter to marry off to his son or nephew in exchange for Ajmal’s taking Faheema.

That’s the only thing that can keep him from murdering his daughter: fixing up his nephew. Our plan was to teach this man democracy.

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Bristol Palin willing to dance with gay man

Dancing With the Stars and Bristol Palin

I want to start by saying it is grotesquely wonderful that America’s least deserving national figure has a daughter who is famous, too. Bristol Palin got pregnant during her mother’s run for the vice-presidency. Now she is a spokeswoman for teen abstinence, star of a reality show about herself, and a returning contestant on Dancing With the Stars. In other words, she is utterly irrelevant to a decent person’s life in America. Don’t think for a second that Bristol Palin is important. Yet although she is insignificant herself, she is instructive as an example of her species—like a termite. On Monday, she published this terrifyingly Orwellian argument on her blog which she apparently has. I think you’ll find its central theme gross and immediately recognizable, also like a termite.

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